SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is trying to go vegan out of concern for the planet, love of animals and his own health.
“It’s something I’ve kind of being going toward anyway. I stopped eating red meat two years ago,” the 32-year-old Mercedes driver told reporters ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
“This year I stopped eating chicken and then kind of went back to it and now I’ve stopped again. So I’ve generally been pescatarian really for the majority of the year and then I’m cutting fish.”
Hamilton, who has 4.8 million followers on Twitter, told fans on Snapchat earlier in the week that he was going to watch the Netflix documentary ‘What the Health’ and was “on a mission” to go vegan.
Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry and vegans also do not eat animal products such as eggs and dairy foods.
“I have actually eaten plant-based food for the last two days and it has been amazing. So far I don’t feel like I’m missing out,” said the Briton, who has won six of 13 races this season and claimed a record 69th pole position.
“But I am at the race so I have chefs here. I don’t know how easy that’s going to be when I get home. That is going to be a real test.”
Hamilton, who is a regular at celebrity haunts across the Atlantic with friends from the fashion and music industries as well as the world of sport, said he knew many others who had made the same decision.
The Briton, whose private jet and luxury sportscars have featured prominently on his various social media feeds, spoke also of his concern about global warming and family history of health issues.
“I don’t want in 10 or 20 years to have diabetes or have heart issues which has been in my family, cancer which has also been in my family. I don’t want to catch any of that stuff,” he said.
“By letting people that are following me know, maybe I can encourage a couple of people to do the same thing.”
The feedback on his Instagram page was divided, with plenty offering support and applauding his move but others expressing concern about how the diet could impact his athletic performance.
(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)